7h15 – Merle noir
Deep in the forests, the natural world offers itself up in equal proportions to the curiosity of scientists and the passions of poets. We are reminded of such by this splendid film from Judith Auffray, who rightly cites the valuable research of Simeon Pease Cheney – who, in the mid-19th century, was the first person to transcribe birdsong into musical notation. Faithful to his lesson but armed with a Nagra, the hero in 7h15 – Merle noir archives night and day, as a patient hermit, the thousand manifestations of the song of nature: “08h07, coal tit; 18h23, common parsley frog; 02h05, Eurasian pygmy owl”… On the spectrogram that helps him in his work, the sound spectrum of his booty itself resembles a flock of birds. He is not totally alone: accompanying him is a young girl for whom the forest seems to hold no secrets. One day, however, a new sound strikes their ears, a presence that neither of them are able to name. So it is that the ardour of science meets the ardour of dream for real: a quest begins that, one stormy night, draws the naturalist and the young fairy into the forest’s black belly, an abandoned silver mine where, for more than a century, the mystery of nature and the history of men have slumbered together.
Judith Auffray was born in Paris in 1993. She first studied painting and drawing at the école nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Lyon then cinema at the HEAD – Geneva. A house (2019), her first feature film, has been selected at Cinéma du réel, FID Marseille and awarded at Ji.hlava IDFF.
Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains et La Traverse
Mario Valero, Raimon Gaffier
Stéphane Debien, Kilian Fanget